The Valley of Fear

Why did mcmurdo come from chicago?

Act 1 scene 1 Dialouge no 5 pg 16

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He was trying to run away from people that want him dead.

he was trying to run away from scowrers
i know many of you might think that this is wrong but believe me Arthur Conan Doyle was my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather and his papers were found by me and i read in those the reason Mcmurdo ran from Chicago


papers of my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather

A bit late to the party, but....

It's important to recognize that McMurdo is a fictional identity - a cover for Birdy Edwards, a Pinkerton detective, to infiltrate the lodge and the Scrowers. Pinkerton was a large private detective agency employed by mine owners and railroads to provide security and counter union influence.

According to his own story, McMurdo was a master counterfitter - creating perfect lookalike US gold coins from cheaper metals. He claims to be fleeing Chicago police after murdering his acomplice in this counterfeiting operation. On the train to Vermissa Valley and again later, the police seem to be hassling McMurdo over his past while in the company of other lodge members. In fact, the police were actually helping Birdy Edwards establish himself as a like-minded criminal and explain his sudden appearance in the Valley of Fear. In espionage, this operation is called a legend - some thing or event that establishes a staged reputation.

Imagine I meet you somehow with wild stories of my Mafia connections. You as likely as not would think me to be some big-mouthed fabulist, poser, wannabe - however you want to term it. Now imagine instead that I didn't say anything but instead as we became acquainted the actual FBI keeps showing up with search warrants and hassles. Which version of the same basic story would a person be more likely to believe?

McMurdo ran away from chicago because he thought he would be welcomed and he read in the papers folks aren't too particular in these parts.